Millions of viewers were hooked to their television screens on Saturday night recently to watch the launch of the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing. They may have wondered who the guests were or marvelled at the skills of the professional dancers but something else may have caught their eye. It seemed, while they were driving to meet the celebrities, two of the dancers, AJ Pritchard and Johannes Radebe, were travelling in an overgrown children’s toy car, which may have looked familiar.
Some people may have thought it was a mock-up, built by an over industrious BBC prop department, but it was for real. Incredibly, design geniuses have developed a grown-up version of a classic toy car you can actually drive on the roads.
Do you remember those fantastic plastic Little Tikes cars, painted red and yellow, enjoyed by millions of children back in the day and still going strong today? They are, for many people, an important part of their childhood, so much so that brothers Geoff and John Bitmead decided to convert a child’s Cozy Coupe car into a functioning adult vehicle.
The Little Tykes Toy Car has been going since the early nineties. The design of the toy car has evolved down the years and was amended in the late 1990s to make it stronger and a more pleasurable ride.
The look of the car was also dramatically changed (well, they painted eyes and a smiling mouth on the front bumper) while retaining the classic Cozy Coupe style.
The Bitmead brothers, who are mechanics, noted how the Cozy Coupe resembled the Daewoo Matiz and decided to build a life-size version, at a cost of £4,000. The ‘Big Tike’, as it is called, is a working vehicle, complete with airbags, mirrors, headlights and can reach speeds of 70mph.
This amazing contraption has had a huge impact and has even been mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records, but it is still a functioning vehicle ‘Strictly’ for grown-ups!